Phillips: What are some of the most common mistakes that people make when they're trying to get over disappointment?
Kushner: Probably the biggest one is that they permit the disappointments to brand them as a failure. That is, they translate, "I have failed at" to mean, "I am a failure at everything."
Phillips: And how can using Moses as a role model help people get over that?
Kushner: First, look at all the things he failed at, but we don't think of him as a failure--.
Second, keep things in perspective. The central metaphor of my book, the central image is, after Moses, in rage and frustration, breaks the original Ten Commandments, he gathers up the pieces and lovingly carries them with him for the rest of his life because, to him, they are not a sign of failure. They're a sign of how high he aspired.
The fact that it didn't work means he learned something from that so that, the next time, things would work out better. That is, take the signs of failure not as a brand of your own--of branding of your own incompetence, but as a badge of what you tried to do, this noble dream, this heroic effort.